by Olivia Silvey ’25
On Wednesday, Oct. 19th a group of students marched through campus protesting Trinity’s handling of two former Trinity students’ Title IX cases. The group of students rallied around Jazmin Johnson and Caila French, the two alumni in the Title IX lawsuit, and also voiced support for other sexual assault survivors. The group walked a loop and a half around campus, beginning in front of admissions and ending upstairs in Mather Hall in front of the Title IX office.
Brianna Andrade ‘24 and India Bracey ‘24 organized the march just a few days before, and the event was spread solely through social media. The organization Students Expecting Consent (SECS), a branch of the Women and Gender Resource Action Center (WGRAC), also helped plan the event and promoted it on their Instagram page.
Andrade and Bracey initially reached out to the Instagram account @trinsurvivors about organizing a march; however, the owners of that account wished to stay anonymous, so they reached out to SECS. The event had a quick turnaround from the initial meeting between Andrade, Bracey, and SECS leaders, but even with a short planning time and lack of physical flyers, there were about 50 students that showed up, and even more joined as the march went on.
“Before going, I was really nervous,” said Andrade. “I think we both were. We thought, even if a lot of people don’t show up, at least we’re still doing something for the alums. But seeing everybody just constantly come [join] was really emotional, and also made me very happy that people on campus do care about these issues and want to see changes in the Title IX process too.”
The group initially intended to do a single loop staying on campus, going from admissions down the Long Walk, through the concrete jungle, LSC, and Crescent, and then ending at Gates Quad; however, they ended up going all the way back north on the lower Long Walk, down Vernon Street, and up Allen Place. Finally, they walked the Long Walk again, ending in front of the Title IX office on the second level of Mather Hall.
“A lot of people might not want to put their face out there [at an event like this],” said Bracey. “But they did come out, they did care, they didn’t shy away, and they stayed with us until the end. We took a completely different route than we were supposed to and everyone still stayed. I felt like everyone there was just very genuine with their intentions of being there.”
One of Andrade and Bracey’s goals was to show the two alums, Johnson and French, that they are not alone and they have support on campus, even if they aren’t students at Trinity anymore. Another aspect of the march was catching the attention of administration and other people on campus in a public way.
“Everyone coming together really made a difference,” said Bracey. “Even just seeing administration watching us walk by, people recording, is bringing awareness to the issue to people who didn’t know about the lawsuit going on. I feel like now they will look into it and know [more about the lawsuit], and follow @trincollsecs on Instagram, follow @trinsurvivors, and keep up with things.”
During their walk throughout campus, which took a little under an hour, the group had a number of chants including “stop the violence/no more silence,” “whatever we wear, wherever we go/yes means yes and no means no,” and “rapes and attacks/we fight back.” The group had a number of signs, made earlier that week, with statements like “your worth is not determined by their actions” and “I am more worried about the guys sitting in class next to me than a few kids on bikes,” which is a reference to, in 2016, when the administration issued timely warnings about “boys on bikes” on campus, but not multiple cases of sexual assault happening at the same time.
While timid at first, the group, which mostly consisted of female-presenting students, caught their stride around Hamlin Hall, with chants getting louder and energy between students building. Students held their chins up and chanted along with pride. On Allen Place, a number of passersby honked in support. Throughout campus, faculty, administration, and other students stopped to watch and record the group. On the Long Walk, the march even caught the attention of a few admissions tours being conducted.
“[Another way to keep the momentum going is by] holding administration accountable,” said Andrade. “These are real issues that affect actual people and their livelihoods, not only at Trinity but beyond.”
Follow @trincollsecs and @trinsurvivors on Instagram to learn more about future events like this.